A Rocky Mount woman believed to have been killed by a local serial killer is still missing after nearly a decade.
Joyce Durham was last seen on the 1500 block of Harper Street at 2:30 p.m. on June 17, 2007. Authorities strongly believe she was a victim of Antwan Pittman, a notorious convicted killer tied to around a dozen cases in which local women were found raped and strangled.
Durham disappeared during Pittman's supposed spree and she fits his victim profile — picking up black women with a known history of prostitution and drug problems. Victims' bodies were found disposed in wooded areas, mostly along Seven Bridges Road.
“It's been almost 10 years, but it never ends,” said Durham's stepfather Winston Kemp. “I keep thinking about her, having dreams, coming out of dreams, realizing she's not present. Your hope sort of dies”
Pittman was arrested in 2009. Prosecutors chose their strongest case to present to a jury in 2001. Pittman was found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2009 slaying of 28-year-old Tahara Nicholson. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Having Pittman locked up provides some relief to Durham's family, but there will be no real rest until her body is recovered, Kemp said.
“It's over, but not forgotten,” Kemp said about Pittman's conviction and his missing daughter. “It's a fighting battle that goes on and on without end.”
Kemp said Durham was a fun person with a great sense of humor.
“She was a comedian,” Kemp said.
The last known movement in Durham's case was April 2010 when the N.C. National Guard helped federal, state and local authorities search a stretch of woods between the Edgecombe County communities of Battleboro and Whitakers. The effort turned up nothing.
Durham was 46 when she disappeared. She was 5-feet, 2-inches tall and weighed 118 pounds. She had black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information about Durham can call Twin County Crimestoppers at 252-977-1111. Calls can be kept confidential. A substantial financial award is available.